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Hard Drive Buying Guide

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The Basics
Next to the motherboard and processor, the hard drive is the most important component of your computer. It acts as the basic storage medium for every piece of data your computer uses, including the operating system and all of your files and information. Needless to say, a fast and reliable hard disk is essential to any system, making your purchasing decisions all the more important.

How They Work
Hard disks contain a number of magnetized platters connected to a spindle. The spindle spins the platters at an incredible fast speed while a series of read/write heads scan over them both looking for and writing information.

A simple analogy might be to think of the hard disk as an advanced type of record player. The record, or platter, spins as a needle, or read/write head, passes over it looking for information. The major difference, of course, is that a hard disk is able to both read and write information.

The information is transferred across a ribbon or cable to a hard disk controller. The hard disk controller is usually built-in to the mother board, although some are in the form of add-in cards. This information is then made available to all the components of your computer.
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